‘NCIS’: Sean Murray on McGee & Delilah Rekindling Their ‘Exciting’ Love & That Airport Scene

Sean Murray Margo Harshman NCIS Season 18 Episode 4 Sunburn
Q&A
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Special Agent McGee (Sean Murray) and his wife, Department of Defense’s Delilah (Margo Harshman), are finally going on a Bahamian vacation on NCIS. (The episode was delayed due to production shutting down early on Season 17.) But alas, as has happened in the past, work (the murder of an escape-room manager with ties to the island) comes calling in “Sunburn.”

Then, in the second of back-to-back episodes airing when the CBS procedural returns on January 19, “Head of the Snake,” the team is let in on Gibbs’ (Mark Harmon) and Fornell’s (Joe Spano) mission to take down the drug ring responsible for the latter’s daughter overdosing.

Here, Murray previews the couple’s vacation and the fallout of that premiere opening scene that saw Gibbs shoot McGee.

Why do McGee and Delilah need this vacation now?

Sean Murray: We knew we were going to do more stories with McGee and Delilah. They’ve been married several years, have kids together, and as many of us know, sometimes there’s a lull in the marriage and the excitement goes away. You make a conscious decision with your partner to say, “Let’s get some time just for us and reconnect.”

So as McGee’s trying to get some R&R with his wife, a case happens back home that links to something in the Bahamas, and McGee and Delilah get to team up and go down this road trying to help solve this case while they’re on vacation and in the process rekindle that exciting, young love.

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From gunshots in a flashforward and a possible proposal to a new task force, the procedurals have quite a bit to address.

They work so well together on cases.

Yeah. I love Margo Harshman. She’s fantastic. I’ve always loved the dynamic because it doesn’t exist outside of their relationship. There’s a certain way McGee is at work, and the way he approaches work, so I always enjoy when we see him on the domestic side.

The Delilah character has definitely developed more and more over the years, and Margo is, I think, the most recurring character we’ve had with the exception of Joe Spano, [who] was in the pilot. We’ve been able to have a lot of fun with McGee and Delilah’s relationship without it being comical.

It’s so sweet.

It is very sweet. There’s a lot of heart to it. McGee is very sensitive and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. He’s usually trying to keep that in check at work, but he’s a little more free when he’s with his wife. You see a little more unfiltered McGee.

Sean Murray

(RIKER BROTHERS)

There’s no other couple that can argue in binary.

I wish I could remember which writer came up with that. I remember reading that for the first time and just adoring it.

The team finds out what Gibbs and Fornell have been up to. It’s not the first time they’ve been in the dark. How will reactions differ from Season 12’s “Patience”?

We’ve learned as a team that Gibbs can disappear and leave no trace of what he’s up to. In the past, it was like, “Where’s Boss? We don’t know what’s going on.” Now, we know something’s going on. We don’t know quite what it is. We’ll try to figure [that] out.

One of my favorite things ever is the culmination of that airport sequence that happens; we saw a version of it in the teaser for the [premiere]. When I read that scene, I immediately called my showrunner to say, “Am I reading this correctly?” [Laughs] We haven’t seen anything like this previously. The Gibbs and McGee relationship is a long and complicated one, and obviously is much more complicated by the events that occur in that second episode and we definitely get into that.

Mark Harmon Sean Murray NCIS Gibbs McGee

(Michael Yarish/CBS)

McGee was witness to Tony [Michael Weatherly] and Ziva’s [Cote de Pablo] will they-won’t they, so what are his thoughts watching Bishop [Emily Wickersham] and Torres [Wilmer Valderrama]?

[Laughs] McGee views the stuff that takes place in the workplace with a little bit of a smirk, and lets things lay where they may. As long as everyone’s operating together and the team is in good shape, then we’re good.

NCIS, Tuesdays, 8/7c, CBS